A female grey whale was found dead in the waters off Boundary Bay Wednesday morning. (Contributed photo)

Sixth grey whale found dead off B.C. coast in 2019

Marine mammal response team and Coast Guard are in the waters off Centennial Beach

Fishery officers are in Boundary Bay today (Wednesday), after a dead grey whale was found in the waters off Centennial Beach.

Paul Cottrell, a South Surrey resident and assistant marine mammal co-ordinator for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, told Peace Arch News the animal – which he located Tuesday while out checking on grey whales – is a large female, measuring 13 to 16 metres.

No obvious signs of trauma can be seen, Cottrell said from aboard the fishery vessel.

Members of the marine mammal response program are securing the animal and working with DFO and the Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft to tow the animal for necropsy, he added.

According to a May 31 Fisheries and Oceans Canada report, five grey whales have been found dead along the B.C. coast in the past two months – including three on the shores of Haidi Gwaii – “which is an upward trend from recent years.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is working with its counterparts in the U.S and Mexico to examine the potential cause of the deaths, which are occurring on the whales’ spring migration north to summer feeding grounds, the report states.

READ MORE: UPDATE: 3 grey whales wash up on B.C. coast in uptick from previous years

READ MORE: A happy ending: Two grey whales stranded in Boundary Bay headed back to sea

READ MORE: Grey whales make ‘pit stop’ in White Rock, expert says

Strandings began Jan. 1, and as of May 20, there had been 60 in the U.S., approximately 73 in Mexico and five in Canada.

Last month, two grey whales – a mother and calf – became stranded in Boundary Bay, also near Centennial Beach, during low tide. The marine mammal response team assisted the pair back to deeper waters.

Also last month, for a span of a couple of weeks, a pair of grey whales were spotted almost daily in Semiahmoo Bay, catching the attention of many waterfront visitors. They were seen within 100 metres of the White Rock Pier.

Fisheries research scientist Thomas Doniol-Valcroze told PAN at the time that the whales’ appearance is “perfectly normal” for this time of year. They make frequent “pit stops” to find food and refuel, he said.

According to the May 31 report, the grey whale is listed as a “species of Special Concern under Canada’s Species at Risk Act,” and where possible, necropsies are conducted to both try and identify cause of death as well as if there are threats to the rest of the population.

All five grey whales found dead in B.C. so far have been necropsied or sampled by the marine mammal response team and the province, the report states.

“All the animals indicated poor body condition, with additional results expected over the next month.”

Cottrell said a necropsy on the whale found Wednesday will likely be done on Thursday (June 6).

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Cannings: MPs working from home important during Covid

“Ottawa is a hot spot for the virus at present … “

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Times reporter recalls John Turner’s return to Rossland home

“Mr. Turner treated my wife, Gerry, and I like we were long lost friends.” - Jim Swettenham

B.C. government to destroy old-growth caribou habitat

Letter from Wildsight Conservation Specialist Eddie Petryshen

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted with Black Lives Matter slogan

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

The holiday everyone needs this year: Vote for your favourite in Fat Bear Week 2020

Voters will get to decide who gets to take home this year’s most coveted prize

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Most Read